3 Ways to Turn Whining into Gratitude

Have you noticed yourself whining a lot? If you’re tired of the negativity, and want to be more grateful all the blessings God has given you, you’re in the right place. Let’s turn our sour whining grapes into lovely sweet wine, shall we?

Turn Your Whining into Gratitude

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So, I came across a great quote the other day. It’s from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, which I’ve been reading this year. At some point, I plan on giving a full review of the book, but for now, I’ll just say one thing. This is a book that is at times very challenging, difficult to understand, and yet…sometimes it yields a great nugget of wisdom.

And this quote was one of those great gold nuggets: “If your life is producing only a whine, instead of the wine, then ruthlessly kick it out.” In other words, kick out the whine, so your life can produce more wine (a.k.a. good fruit).

As Thanksgiving approaches next week, I’ve been thinking about gratitude, and that trading-whine-for-wine thing seems really relevant.

You see, we humans tend to whine a lot. We complain about anything and everything, but how often do we step back and realize how much the whining takes over our mental, spiritual, and emotional state? Whining crowds out the good fruit, just like weeds choke off good plants.

That’s why Jesus said, in John 15:2, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” God kicks out the whining (pruning us), to make room for new growth (in this case, gratitude).

John 15:5 Jesus is the vine

Now, you know as well as I do, there’s always a reason to complain. I could whine about being so tired and low on energy (due to narcolepsy, which I’ve had since age 12). I could look at the clutter in my physical space, and conclude that my life is out of control. I could bicker about all the problem customers I deal with in my retail job. How I’m still single at 35. Or all the things I struggle to get right, like being on time consistently (mostly I’m just late, late, late, though I’m still trying).

And I’ve definitely whined to myself and to God about all those things, in varying degrees, at one time or another. But then I have to ask myself, what good does it do to complain? Nada.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that too, in your own life. How much happier you are, when you choose gratitude over whining.


3 Ways to Turn Whining into Gratitude

Still, there are those pesky situations in which it may be more difficult to find something to be grateful for. Or maybe, it’s just tough to turn off the complain monster when the complaining seems justified! Either way, here are three scenarios that we tend to whine about a lot (or at least, I do), and ways to still be grateful in spite of them.

  1. THE WHINE: “I ‘hate’ my job.” Okay, so you might not hate it, but there are just so many other places you’d rather be! Am I right? I know I am…I work in retail, and there are definitely a lot of things I’d rather be doing than, say, selling gifts to last-minute shoppers on the day before Christmas (we do at least close early on Christmas Eve, but still…)
    FOCUS ON PURPOSE: The key here, is to remember our reasons for being there. Things like: being able to provide for your family, having the opportunity to witness to co-workers, showing kindness to customers, etc. It may take some effort, but I believe it’s possible to put a positive spin on it. For example, I’m tired of dealing with grumpy holiday shoppers. But, I get to show them kindness and be helpful to them! I can make a positive impact, even if it’s small. We never know when one smile or kind word can make someone’s day!
  2. THE WHINE: “My hyperactive kid/annoying relative/nosy neighbor is driving me crazy.” It would be so easy to fume about it, either by venting to someone else, or venting to God. But, let’s turn this around.
    LOVE ON/PRAY FOR THEM: I know it seems far-fetched, but it is possible to be grateful that God is teaching us patience through our dealings with that person or people. What can you learn, and how can you extend more grace to them? In Matthew 5:44, Jesus says we should pray for our enemies. I know this is something I should do a lot more often! Because whenever I have prayed for that problem person, it always softens my heart towards them, and I’m able to have more patience and grace towards them.
  3. THE WHINE: “My life is overwhelming! Everything is going down the tubes!” Have you been there? I find myself thinking in this way, especially towards the end of the day when I’m tired and spent.
    COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: Now’s a great time to appreciate what you DO have. I get it; when you’re in a pickle, worn out, and/or it seems like many things are going wrong at once, it’s easy to generalize and say that everything is terrible. But STOP. What’s going right? We always have Jesus. And even in a crisis, most of the time we have lots of other blessings to glad for, like a roof over our heads, clean water, food to eat, and so on.

The key here, is to take that thing we’re tempted to complain about, and turn it upside-down! Shake out the grapes of whine, smash them up, and make sweet wine (or grape juice!) of gratitude. You know it’ll taste much better anyway.

What ONE thing do you normally whine about, that you’ll commit to kicking out of your life this week? And, how can you replace that whine, with the better wine/fruit of gratitude?

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